The Brooklyn Diocese on Friday unveiled a statue of Mother Cabrini, the Italian-American nun who was the first US citizen to become a canonized saint in the Catholic Church.
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio blessed the shrine outside the Sacred Hearts and St. Stephen Roman Catholic Church on Hicks Street in Carroll Gardens on June 11.
“It’s a real replica of her presence here so that people can remember what she did in her life,” DiMarzio said. “She reached out to the people on the margins of society, and that’s our job today.”
The bronze sculpture on Summit Street, paid for with a $40,000 donation to the Brooklyn Diocese, shows Cabrini flanked by two children looking up at her, with a bible in her left hand, above a miniature version of the Sacred Hearts church.
Cabrini made headlines citywide in 2019 when she received the most votes in First Lady Chirlane McCray’s “She Built NYC” public art campaign — but was not selected to have a statue built in her likeness by the de Blasio administration.
Catholics reacted in outrage, and “Bronx Tale” star Chazz Palminteri accused McCray of harboring anti-Italian racism during a radio appearance. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, always eager to one-up his political rival, then announced that a state-funded Cabrini statue would be installed in Battery Park in Manhattan, a carving that has since gone up.
The Carroll Gardens statue marks the third Mother Cabrini memorial in New York City, according to the Diocese.
Born in 1850, Cabrini emigrated to New York in 1899, where she went on to found over 60 hospitals, schools, and orphanages including the Missionary Sister of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a Catholic institute that offered help to the city’s plentiful Italian immigrants. She died in 1917 and was canonized in 1946.
“Her courage was great because her faith was great, and even when Mother Cabrini was met with rejection, she never returned anything but love,” said DiMarzio.